One Boy Missing
Text Publishing, $29.99 pb, 288 pp, 9781922147271
Stephen Orr’s previous novel, Time’s Long Ruin (2010), which was short-listed for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and long-listed for the Miles Franklin, explored the repercussions within a quiet Adelaide community of the disappearance of three of its most vulnerable members, closely related to the disappearance and presumed murder of the Beaumont children in 1966. It was a languid and thoughtful study of character and place, important in a novel that was never going to achieve any real resolution. Especially well drawn was the relationship between Henry, the narrator, and his detective father. One Boy Missing similarly explores the relationship between sons and fathers, and also has at its centre the generative mystery of children gone missing, although this novel is deceptively clothed in the tropes of a standard police procedural.